Prediction: Why Do We Want to Know?


While some astrologers pose the notion that prediction is the 'money shot' of astrology, I am reluctant to agree.

Plenty of folks imagine this to be the main point of astrology: to tell them what the future will bring. I'm one of those astrologers who simply isn't interested in providing these 'money shot' predictions to prove myself and astrology correct.

Is that because I don't have enough knowledge or experience to make accurate predictions? Perhaps.

But on the other hand, I'm not particularly motivated to gain those specific skills, if they will be putting me in the precarious power position of believing I definitively know what will happen to other people. And in my opinion, that is a very precarious position. If I adopt the predictive approach, am I describing what will happen… or am I prescribing it in a way that powerfully and creatively shapes the very event I'm predicting?

I don't think it's an accident that those forms of astrology which are based on a more fatalistic (rather than free will) philosophy are also those geared toward making much more accurate 'predictions'. But I am a strong believer in free will… and, along with it, the idea that the future hasn't yet been set in stone. At any point, I can turn left instead of right. I can stay in my job or quit. I can act on my adulterous urges or stay faithful to my partner.

If, on the other hand, I believe in the possibility of accurately predicting the future because it's somehow already written… then perhaps all that free will is merely a ruse of the human mind. I was always already going to turn left. In the predestined universe, I've already quit my job and cheated on my lover.

So then: Why do I want to know the future? There's nothing I can do about it anyway. I'm already locked into my destiny.

And from the astrologers' perspective: Why do I want to predict the preordained future? To prove I'm smarter than the average bear?

As I see it, intention is of the utmost importance in this craft I practice. And I must question the intention of any astrologer who wants to predict the future as some intellectual exercise in proving to the world it's possible. I just don't understand the point. More often than not, the reception of 'bad news' is more likely to create fear and anxiety than any type of solace for the real people involved. If given the choice between being right and helping someone, please let the universe give me the wisdom to select the helping path. The other one seems like pure ego, through and through.

I have met too many people who have suffered at the hands of astrologers, psychics or other future-predicting mystics who gave them negative, disempowering readings—and whose lives have suffered adverse effects from these predictions for many years afterward. I often have to 'undo' this irresponsible work, in order to put the power of free will back in the hands of those actually living these realities.

Let's use the example of a hypothetical client, Carrie, who shows up for a consultation to receive insight into her relationship. She readily admits there have been problems, but also asserts that things are better than ever and she's happy to be in that relationship.

Some astrologers might take one look at the synastry (or interaspects made between two astrology charts to show the dynamics of a relationship) between her and her husband's charts, as well as the chart for their wedding day and their upcoming transits/progressions, and report to Carrie: 'Were you guys trying to get a divorce? This wedding chart is atrocious! It'll be interesting to see if you're singing the same tune five years from now…'

Now, Carrie is someone who doesn't have a full understanding of astrology, who may not believe or disbelieve anything re: free will (because, let's face it, not everyone spends their spare time contemplating these issues), and who trustingly puts her faith in the astrologer to 'have the answer'. She may well accept what is told to her, perhaps at face value or maybe with a grain of salt, since it seems to contradict her own conscious experience.

Though Carrie may show all the external signs of satisfaction in her relationship, there's now also a seed of self-doubt planted in her by this consultation… a nagging sense that she is fooling herself since, after all, the 'almighty' astrologer told her that her marriage was due for a divorce. And so she spends the next few years quietly searching for the clues her marriage is doomed. It makes her paranoid and mistrustful. She sneaks around, hunting for signs of her husband's indiscretions. Eventually, assuming on some level that it's only a matter of time before her marriage fails, Carrie decides, 'Screw it!' and has her own indiscretion. It's 'meant to happen' anyway, right? The marriage, of course, does end. The astrologer is happy at having been proven right, while Carrie is left to mourn the marriage she'd had such high hopes for.

What was the astrologer's intention again? To warn Carrie that her marriage would end… or to plant the seed that she 'shouldn't' be there in the first place? According to what? A battery of airtight astrological rules, which are in sharp opposition to what she herself has stated are her intentions: to stay in the marriage?

Notice that, in the above example, the client's and the astrologer's intentions are at odds with one another. This is an important point.

When I am with a client, my intention is to help her make more conscious choices in order to most successfully follow her intentions. It is not to urge her to redirect her intentions, in light of some 'objective' astro-knowledge I might possess. That is both presumptuous and closed-minded. A person is not her chart—she's a person. She must decide for herself what she wants out of life. It is my job to help her make that happen, with astrology as a tool for planning the best timing and strategies appropriate to her natal chart and transits.

If we don't marry the person we love because the astrology tells us not to (though our heart may say otherwise) or if we don't sign the contract on the house we want to move into because Mercury is retrograde, then we are using astrology as a crutch. We don't always have the luxury to wait three weeks. So instead, we just make sure to read the fine print three times and ask lots of detailed questions to minimize (rather than eliminate) the possible pitfalls of Merc-retro.

I often go against the common wisdom (or 'the rules') in electing (or choosing a time to 'birth' something, such as a marriage or a business) because I'm also working within the constraints of the real world. Instead, I just give the heads-up about what might be expected given the elected chart… which allows the affected client to act with more consciousness.

Rather than thinking of myself as someone who can predict the future using hard-and-fast rules, I prefer to consider my astrological work as magic—a process of co-creation with my clients, so they may magically manifest the future they most want. As such, I don't care if the mainstream world of science accepts me or not. I don't care if I'm spooky and altogether ooky. In fact, I like it. The real world is also a rather spooky and ooky place, despite the desire to fit it into a logical framework of rules and expectations. The proof of astrology that 'it just works', which many astrologers take issue with, is totally satisfying to me. After all, that's my main intention: simply for astrology as I practice it to work for those I seek to help.

All the while, I don't have a problem per se with those who come at astrology from the perspective of tight rules and predictive aims. If anything, it helps me develop my own beliefs and clarify my intentions. We just seem to have a vastly different philosophical orientation to the work we're doing. I do wonder what the underlying intention behind this other sort of astrology is, however.

Why would you want to predict the future?